The June 30 editorial "Unhappy Anniversary" accused China of eroding Hong Kong's freedoms. But it was only after Hong Kong's handover and upon the full implementation of the principles of "one country, two systems" that Hong Kong residents began to enjoy extensive rights, such as the right to participate in the process of selecting the chief executive.

The first chief executive was selected by a 400-member committee. The second chief executive was elected by an 800-member committee. As to the election of the 60-member legislative council, the number of seats through direct election has increased from 20 in the first term to 24 in the second term. The number will increase to 30 in the September elections.

These developments conform to the principle of a gradual and orderly progress, as prescribed in the basic law. That law also guarantees freedom of speech and of the press in Hong Kong. The alleged manipulations by Beijing of Hong Kong politics and media are based on innuendo and are groundless.

A radio host mentioned in the editorial is also a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) from Hong Kong. He consulted with the NPC on whether it was a conflict of interest for him to host a radio talk show and be a deputy. The NPC saw no conflict; therefore, his departure had nothing to do with the central government.

Maintaining long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong is not only in the interests of the Chinese people, but it is in the interests of the international community. I hope that the U.S. media will take a fair and objective view of the current situation and play a constructive role in maintaining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.

SUN WEIDE

Press Counselor and Spokesman

Embassy of China

Washington